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ASCA-Certified School Counselor Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Is certification required? 
Certification is completely voluntary. Similar to the Recognized ASCA National Model Program (RAMP), which recognizes schools that implement the ASCA National Model at an exemplary level, the ACSC designation recognizes individual school counselors who demonstrate their commitment to the highest levels of professionalism, ethical practice and continuing professional development in their school counseling practice. 
 
Who is eligible for certification? 
Certification is for practicing school counselors who have worked in a school within five years or school counseling program graduates who complete the portfolio requirements based on their graduate program practicum/internship.Veteran school counselors are welcome to apply for the ACSC certification but are also encouraged to consider National Board Certification for School Counseling through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), which is the next step in demonstrating excellence. The ACSC is not appropriate for school counseling faculty. ASCA recommends school counseling faculty consider attaining ASCA CAEP SPA recognition for their graduate programs.
 
I am not a practicing school counselor. Can I still receive ACSC certification? 
Certification is for practicing school counselors, school counselors who have worked in a school within the past five years or school counseling program graduates who complete the portfolio requirements based on their graduate program practicum/internship. The ACSC is not appropriate for school counseling faculty. ASCA recommends school counseling faculty consider attaining ASCA CAEP SPA recognition for their graduate programs.
 
Does earning the ACSC qualify or license me to become a school counselor even if I don’t have a degree in school counseling?
Each state department of education develops its own requirements for licensure/certification, but the ACSC doesn’treplace the requirement of holding a master’s degree in school counseling. Learn more about individual state certification/licensing requirements here. Earning the ACSC designation supports the licensure process as it recognizes individual school counselors who demonstrate their commitment to the highest levels of professionalism, ethical practice and continuing professional development in their school counseling practice. 
 
What are the benefits to earning certification? 
  • Demonstrated proficiency in school counseling and ASCA National Model
  • Demonstrated professional excellence and credibility 
  • National recognition and verification of graduate preparation, knowledge and skills
  • Proof for your administrators, school board and the community at large that you're committed to delivering a data-informed school counseling program. 
  • Increased recognition when applying for new positions in multiple states
  • Communication sent to your school’s principal and superintendent informing them of your accomplishment 
  • Recognition at the ASCA Annual Conference, in ASCA School Counselor magazine and on the ASCA website
 
What is the difference between the ACSC and RAMP? 
The Recognized ASCA National Model Program (RAMP) recognizes schools that implement the ASCA National Model at an exemplary level. The ACSC designation recognizes individual school counselors who demonstrate their commitment to the highest levels of professionalism, ethical practice and continuing professional development in their school counseling practice. 

Praxis Questions

Which Praxis is required for the ASCA-Certified School Counselor credential? 
The 5421 Professional School Counselor or the previous 420 School Guidance and Counseling (as long as it was taken within the last 10 years)
 
What score must I receive on the PRAXIS to apply for ACSC certification? 
You must receive a score of 156 on the 5421 Professional School Counselor Praxis exam. 
 
I was never required to take the Praxis. Is this something I need to do on my own?
Yes. If you never took the Praxis, even if this is not a requirement in your state, you must take the Praxis now to be eligible for the ACSC. The Praxis is the examination component used in the ACSC process to measure school counseling knowledge and skills. An examination component that is the same for all applicants is a requirement established by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, Standards 15-22, to ensure individuals who receive the certification have demonstrated knowledge of the same content. Additionally, the Praxis aligns with a majority of states, with 27 states requiring the test and six states having significant numbers taking the test. The 5421 Professional School Counselor Praxis is school counseling specific and also aligns with the ASCA National Model and the School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies.
 
My state doesn’t require the Praxis. Do I still need to take it?
Yes. Even if the Praxis isn’t required in your state, you must take the Praxis to be eligible for the ACSC. The Praxis is the examination component used in the ACSC process to measure school counseling knowledge and skills. An examination component that is the same for all applicants is a requirement established by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, Standards 15-22, to ensure individuals who receive the certification have demonstrated knowledge of the same content. Additionally, the Praxis aligns with a majority of states, with 27 states requiring the test and six states having significant numbers taking the test. The 5421 Professional School Counselor Praxis is school counseling specific and also aligns with the ASCA National Model and the School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies.
 
I am an NCC/NCSC. Do I still need to take the Praxis?
Yes. The Praxis exam is aligned with the ASCA School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies and the ASCA National Model. It measures the academic skills and content knowledge for school counseling. Additionally, an examination component that is the same for all applicants is a requirement established by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, Standards 15-22, to ensure individuals who receive the certification have demonstrated knowledge of the same content. 
 
Which states/territories require the Praxis (5421 Professional School Counselor)? 
Alabama 
Arkansas 
Colorado 
Delaware 
District of Columbia 
Guam 
Hawaii 
Kansas 
Louisiana 
Maine 
Mississippi 
Montana 
Nebraska 
Nevada 
New Mexico 
North Carolina 
​North Dakota 
Northern Mariana Islands 
Pennsylvania 
Rhode Island 
South Carolina 
South Dakota 
Tennessee 
Utah 
Washington 
West Virginia 
Wisconsin 
 
The following states don’t require the Praxis but have a significant volume of test takers: California, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia.
A passing score of 156 is required for applicants from states that do not require the Praxis. 
 
Why do I need to take the Praxis if my state doesn’t require it? 
Certification requires an examination component that is the same for all applicants (as established by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs, Standards 15-22), ensuring individuals who receive the certification have demonstrated knowledge of the same content. The 5421 Professional School Counselor Praxis is school counseling specific and aligns with the ASCA School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies and the ASCA National Model. Additionally, the Praxis aligns with a majority of states, with 27 states requiring the test and six states having significant numbers taking the test. The 5421 Professional School Counselor Praxis is school counseling specific and also aligns with the ASCA National Model and the School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies.
 
Why do I need to retake the Praxis if I took it more than 10 years ago? 
The school counseling profession, school counseling standards and the ASCA National Model continuously advance to meet students’ ever-changing needs. Because certification demonstrates proficiency in current school counseling practice, it is necessary to earn a passing test score within the past 10 years.